Mauritius: Country and Foreign Investment
Population, Language and Culture
The island nation of Mauritius has a population of 1,265,100 (2017 estimate). The vast majority of this population lives on the island of Mauritius, including around 150,000 in the capital, Port Louis. The second largest city is Vacoas-Phoenix, south of the capital, with a population of 106,300 (2015 estimate). This densely populated area also contains the large towns of Beau-Bassin, Quatre Bornes and Curepipe.
The only other island with any substantial population is Rodrigues, east-north-east of Mauritius, with 42,400 inhabitants (2016 estimate). Agaléga Island has a population of about 300 and St. Brandon (or the Cargados Carajos Shoals) has less than 100 transients and no permanent population.
The national language is English, though it is not widely spoken as a first language. In everyday life, the vast majority of the population use Maurisyen (from the French Mauritien), a French-based Creole. Standard French has quasi-official status and, like English, is mostly spoken in formal contexts.
The most important minority language is Bhojpuri, with more than 65,000 speakers. This language is linguistically close to Hindi and Urdu, which are also represented in Mauritius in small numbers, as are some other South Asian languages.
Ethnically, about two-thirds of the population is Indo-Mauritian and most of the remainder are Creole. In terms of religion, about half of the population is Hindu, with 28% Christian and 17% Muslim.